Breedism: a pervasive and tenacious stain on the moral fibre of society? I'm getting a little tired of the widespread fear inspired by my German shepherd Hugo whenever we go running. The baseless apprehension in the eyes of the passers by. The inevitable impertinent question: is he safe? Well, he doesn't have a mean bone in his body, and has raised his voice in anger to neither beast nor man. This doesn't stop him being regularly snarled at by the so-called nice dogs. He's been attacked on three occasions - and I don't classify something as an attack unless the dog sinks teeth in and holds - always by labradors; although, admittedly, it was the same labrador involved on two of those occasions. Hugo simply looks puzzled for a few seconds, and then tries to re-initiate play. Conversely, I've never had any problems with the pit bulls (illegal in Miami-Dade, by the way) and pit bull mixes we meet. The Akita is delightful, as are the Rottweilers and other German Shepherds.

So, I think we can safely say I'm sympathetic to Mary's response to my 'Nietzsche and dog training' post. Dog aggression is largely - not always, not necessarily, but largely - a function of the owner. Often that owner can have nothing but the best of intentions. I'm not denying that there might be innate differences in aggression between breeds. Numerous studies have led to that conclusion, although I think those studies are open to interpretation. But, I strongly suspect the intra-breed differences are larger than the inter-breed ones, and are chiefly the result of nurture.   

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